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Study Shows Cocaine And Other Drugs In Spanish Air 164

If you live in Madrid or Barcelona, you might not notice the air pollution due to your contact buzz according to a new study. The Superior Council of Scientific Investigations found the air in those cities to be laced with at least five drugs: amphetamines, opiates, cannabinoids, lysergic acid and most prominently cocaine. Researchers found cocaine in concentrations between 29 and 850 picogram per cubic meter of air. The group stresses that the air samples were taken in high drug areas and don't represent most of the air in the cities.


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Study Shows Cocaine And Other Drugs In Spanish Air

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  • by tolan-b ( 230077 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @02:44PM (#27954331)

    But I can often smell our neighbours' cannabinoids. (Barcelona btw)

  • Molecular weight (Score:5, Informative)

    by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Thursday May 14, 2009 @03:02PM (#27954669) Homepage Journal

    As I recall from my...err, never mind when that was...LSD is a relatively heavy molecule to be floating around. To have even a picogram detectable would imply a lot being manufactured.

  • Re:BRB (Score:5, Informative)

    by pz ( 113803 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @03:13PM (#27954919) Journal

    what makes you think this is any different than in a typical town in (insert state/country you live in)?

    Maybe because of what one of the researchers on the study said, as quoted from the article: "Mar Viana, another researcher who worked on the project, said the levels [in Madrid and Barcelona] were far higher than those found in similar studies in Europe."

    The article then goes on to cite another study in Italy where the highest concentration of cocaine found was 100 pg/m3 -- whereas in the Spanish study, the maximum found was 850 pg/m3. That's almost an order of magnitude difference between Spain and Italy. While there are many, many reasons this might be true, certainly it would appear that Madrid and Barcelona have much higher concentrations of drugs in the air than other cities.

    Despite the overwhelming behavior to the contrary, it really is often worth reading the linked articles before expressing an opinion.

  • Re:LSD (Score:3, Informative)

    by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @03:16PM (#27954973)

    But LSD is psychoactive at such low doses, I wonder if it actually does affect people.

    If you RTFA carefully (yeah yeah, I know), they didn't actually find LSD but lysergic acid [wikipedia.org] which is a "precursor for a wide range of ergoline alkaloids that are produced by the ergot fungus and some plants".

    I'm not a chemist, but the two possibilities I see is that (a) it is naturally occurring; or (b) someone in the area is running an acid lab (probably more likely). Either way, plain lysergic acid will not have any hallucinogenic/entheogenic effects at those minute concentrations.

  • Re:Primordial soup (Score:3, Informative)

    by EvilBudMan ( 588716 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @04:32PM (#27956417) Journal

    Uh Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, +4 Informative? Should be +5 Funny! I really wanna see some citations here.

  • Re:BRB (Score:5, Informative)

    by teebob21 ( 947095 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @04:37PM (#27956531) Journal

    Not that it matters, but if you're going to rebut someone with a snopes link, at least state that it's true. Snopes debunks so many urban legends that the folks who can't be bothered to even RTFA will think you just debunked the whole cocaine-laced money thing.

    **SNIFF** Man, George Washington smells good.

  • Re:BRB (Score:5, Informative)

    by diegocgteleline.es ( 653730 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @04:42PM (#27956635)

    Here's another hypotesis: Spain has the highest percentage of cocaine consumers of the world [wikipedia.org] (it even surpassed EEUU in 2005 or so). Drug in europe is introduced in our beachs, so here in spain it's quite cheap.

  • by Incadenza ( 560402 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @05:45PM (#27957805)

    Think about how small that is, and how large a cubic meter is. I'm not impressed. You can find a few molecules of almost anything almost everywhere, if you have sensitive enough equipment.

    You will be impressed when you travel from Barcelona to Dubai. In Dubai they have a minimum 4-year jail sentence for possession of drugs, with no lower limit for the amount of drugs. If they can jail you for 3mg stuck to the sole of your shoe [bbc.co.uk] or the poppy seeds from your bagel, then you'll want to use the plane's emergency oxygen for cleaning your lungs before landing. Unless you want to breath Dubai air for 4 years in a row.

  • by DrBuzzo ( 913503 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @11:38PM (#27961353) Homepage
    This simply goes to show how damn sensitive modern chemical analysis methods are. You can detect a trace of damn near *anything* with the correct equipment.

    Now here's something else to panic about: There are detectable levels of plutonium and other fallout from 1950's nuclear tests in the average human body. Also, there are detectable levels of nearly every toxin in nearly every substance, if you actually have good enough equipment.

    Picograms per cubic meter ain't much.
  • Re:BRB (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2009 @03:49AM (#27962851)
    I've lived in several european cities and countries. Right now I reside in Barcelona and frankly I understand that it's difficult to picture, but trust me when I say that no european city that I know of (perhaps Madrid, haven't been there yet) compares to Barcelona what goes for drugs. Amsterdam is a mere candy store in comparison. The tolerance level of drugs here is so high that the urban police have no right to confiscate cannabis, only the Catalonian (province) police "Mossos" can. And most times they just tell you to put it out or take it somewhere else, as in your home. There's a constitutional law in Spain that renders some drug banning impossible. The law separates your home from the public and you have far greater "freedom" in your home, such as freedom of using and growing cannabis for personal use. However this tolerance level naturally brings the drugs to the streets anyway. Still the biggest problem is tourists that come for this reason. They consume much more "party" drugs such as cocaine, MDMA/extacy and amphetamines, than the native catalans. But roughly speaking, from my experience, 9 out of 10 18-30-year-olds in Barcelona has consumed cannabis at one or more occasions. Cannabis is simply that available.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court